Nearly 80 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
We go to work, we come home, and we spend the money we made on things that we want.
Some weeks, we’ve spent too much money. We tell ourselves we MUST stay in and be boring after work so we can have enough money to pay rent. Good idea, big spenders.
Here’s 10 things you can do after work that aren’t as boring as you may think.
1. Netflix Binge
Yes yes, this one is painfully obvious. If you don’t have Netflix, you probably know someone who will give you their info so you can be the proud moocher that you are. When I get home after a long day, sometimes I like to watch an in depth documentary on Ted Bundy. Other times I like to watch a show that doesn’t cause me to think or feel too many negative emotions, like Queer Eye. Whichever way you end up leaning, the Netflix Binge is a pivotal part of a good night in. Excuse me, a good night in spending ZERO dollars.
2. Get Outside
No matter where you live, the outside is close. So close in fact, you can probably see it right now. I’m fortunate enough to live in the ever beautiful Colorado, and can literally walk out of my front door and be in the mountains. Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky. Some of us live in giant apartment complexes surrounded by a concrete jungle. Others live in the suburbs or in the middle of nowhere kind of like my wonderful parents. BUT, there is probably a park within 10 miles of you. Pack up a picnic, bring some wine and cheese, and simply enjoy what this amazing world has to offer. Even New York has beautiful sunsets.
3. Find a New Podcast
Oh the wonderful world of podcasts. According to podcastinsights.com there are over 660,000 shows and over 28 MILLION episodes. So don’t even try and tell me you can’t find one you enjoy. I happen to be a lover of true crime, and my favorite podcast on the planet is My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Two female comedians talking about murder might sound weird, but my god is it fantastic. Joe Rogan is also pretty great and surprisingly doesn’t talk about DMT on every episode. If you are even slightly interested in any one topic, there is definitely a podcast about it. Find one, put on some headphones and get to cleaning. Don’t forget, you’re currently broke.
4. Read a Book
Unless you don’t like reading books, then listen to an audio book. There’s this fantastic (and free) app that I LOVE called OverDrive. If you have a library card, you can connect to that libraries entire digital library and access their books and audio books for free. Are you one of those old timers that still likes holding onto a real book and hasn’t been converted to the magical world of the Kindle? It’s okay, I used to be the same way. Don’t knock it till ya try it. If you do have a kindle, or even the free kindle app on your phone, you can connect it directly to OverDrive and never pay for a book, audio book, magazine, or any other library type thing again.
5. Bake Some Cookies
I’m serious. Bake some goddamn cookies. I realize that not everyone is a professional baker like me who seems to always have ingredients in their pantry for cookies at any given time. If you’re the weird one who’s got everything, we should be friends. If you’re not that person, if you don’t like to bake, or if cookie making sounds expensive, just go buy some cookie dough! A package of frozen cookie dough costs less than $3. AND you get to eat some cold raw cookie dough. You probably won’t get salmonella, but your house will smell absolutely amazing and you’ll be eating cookies. It’s a win win.
6. Stretch it Out
You know I’m talking about yoga. It might sound impossible to you people who claim you are the most inflexible human on the planet, but I promise you are not. Every time I actually get off my butt and stretch, it feels soooo nice. After working all day a nice calming stretch is exactly what I need to wind down. If you don’t know what to do, that’s okay because everyone looks a little ridiculous while doing yoga. Go on YouTube and look up a video, find an eBook with pictures and explanations, or do the stretches you learned in gym class in high school. It doesn’t really matter what you do, just breath deeply and forget about the people you work with that make more money than you.
7. Have a Night with Friends
Or your cat. Either way, hanging out with people you like doesn’t have to be expensive. You’ve probably got enough food in your house to make a cheap dinner, someone can bring over a some inexpensive booze and you can all stand around shirtless and scream at Top Gun. Oops, that’s what my boyfriend and his 4 roommates do. Don’t do that. But, add a movie you like and you can do most of those things minus the shirtless man-screaming.
8. See Live Music
Do you live in a major city? Or near an overwhelmingly indie coffee shop? Chances are, there’s some free live music going down on a Thursday night that you had no idea about. Lots of bars have theme nights with random local artists, and you don’t even have to buy a beer. The best part about seeing live music is finding other people who share a common interest. Do you like head-banging-super-chuggy metal? You’re not the only one. Do you like swaying to beautiful mandolin music in a room full of hipsters? Yeah, me too.
9. Grow Something
House plants. I have over 35 and I’m not even embarrassed about it. There is something incredibly rewarding about watching something grow, especially when you’re taking care of it and it isn’t a pet or a child. If growing a house plant that gives you nothing in return isn’t for you, start a garden. Herb gardens are sooo easy and all you really need is some jars and a window. It may not be free, but it will save you money in the long run.
10. Be Less Broke
You’ve got some extra time, you could always get another job. I don’t mean a full on resume and an interview type of job; I mean a side hustle. Do you like kids? Try using an app or ask your neighbor if you could babysit once or twice a week. Some will pay $10-20 an hour. Dog walking apps are pretty popular, as is driving for companies like Lyft and Uber. You don’t have to do these things often, but an extra $50 a week goes a long way.